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Metamorphosis

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One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.' Thus begins The Metamorphosis, cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the twentieth century. A story of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, who wakes up one day to discover that he has metamorphosed into a bug, The Metamorphosis is a book tha One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.' Thus begins The Metamorphosis, cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the twentieth century. A story of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, who wakes up one day to discover that he has metamorphosed into a bug, The Metamorphosis is a book that concerns itself with the themes of alienation, disillusionment and existentialism. As Samsa struggles to reconcile his humanity with his transformation, Kafka, very deftly, weaves his readers into a web that deals with the absurdity of existence, the alienating experience of modern life and the cruelty and incomprehensibility of authoritarian power, leaving them at once stunned and impressed.

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One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.' Thus begins The Metamorphosis, cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the twentieth century. A story of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, who wakes up one day to discover that he has metamorphosed into a bug, The Metamorphosis is a book tha One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.' Thus begins The Metamorphosis, cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the twentieth century. A story of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, who wakes up one day to discover that he has metamorphosed into a bug, The Metamorphosis is a book that concerns itself with the themes of alienation, disillusionment and existentialism. As Samsa struggles to reconcile his humanity with his transformation, Kafka, very deftly, weaves his readers into a web that deals with the absurdity of existence, the alienating experience of modern life and the cruelty and incomprehensibility of authoritarian power, leaving them at once stunned and impressed.

30 review for Metamorphosis

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I once used my copy to kill a beetle. Thereby combining my two passions: irony and slaughter. *wields*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    A BIG EFFING DISCLAIMER: I read books for fun, not to better myself. I originally published this review MONTHS ago, for a book published DECADES ago... and I'm still getting biweekly hate for it. And while I mostly roll my eyes at the loose interpretation of "hate" on the internet, I have to say this book produces legit hate. Reviewers be warned, people get creative when you don't like this book. It seems that some classics must be liked, or else . Since publishing this review, many people have A BIG EFFING DISCLAIMER: I read books for fun, not to better myself. I originally published this review MONTHS ago, for a book published DECADES ago... and I'm still getting biweekly hate for it. And while I mostly roll my eyes at the loose interpretation of "hate" on the internet, I have to say this book produces legit hate. Reviewers be warned, people get creative when you don't like this book. It seems that some classics must be liked, or else . Since publishing this review, many people have posted their interpretations of this book - some of which I can see, some of which I don't buy and some that really are quite brilliant. People seem convinced that if only I (the "stupid broad" as one now-deleted comment said) could understand the d*man book , then my "absolute idiocy" could be resolved and I wouldn't have to worry about my children "inheriting the stupid." While your sentiments about my future children were strong (and no doubt your hearts were in the right place), I'm afraid that won't help them. They are doomed. Even if the most stunningly accurate interpretation of the novel comes into my life, that doesn't change the fact that I didn't like the book. I'm not a professional. I'm not an English teacher. I have never claimed to be anything other than an avid reader. Just because I'm a "casual" doesn't mean that I'm only going to stick to fluffy novels. I like to branch out, sometimes with awesome and sometimes with awful results. And this one just didn't work for me. And if there's anything I have picked up from the comments, Kafka was writing a book to make you feel bad. He was aiming for that cloying feeling - like you're choking on humid air. On the edge of a cold - where you don't feel well, but you also don't feel totally sick. When you're boss calls you in and you know that it's not for a promotion. Dread. Horror. Disappointment. Hopelessness. Depression. And guess what? I may not have interpreted the book "correctly", but I felt all that. And my review reflects exactly what Kafka was aiming for (with a dollop of sarcasm and sass from me on the side). The Original Review If you are someone who is looking for a serious interpretation kindly check out another. There plenty of brilliant interpretations of this novel, and so many people LOVE it. Unfortunately, I did not. I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself. Allow me to explain it to you then: You (Gregor) turned into a giant bug. Your family alternated between fearing, caring, and loathing you in your bug-body. Ultimately, you began doing lots of creepy bug-things and became a burden to them. Then you starved to death and your parents got their spare bedroom back. *slow clapping* Okaaaay, if you haven't already guessed, I didn't enjoy this one. I am not a fan of books where things just *happen* without any sort of explanation. Nor if books that give off a consistently dreary feeling throughout. I could summarize the entire book as: Gregor turns into a bug, it was not a smart move. Which is slightly misrepresenting the book - cause the book actually has Gregor turning into a bug without any rhyme or reason. Actually. Wait a moment. This is probably one of those books where everything is a representation of something significant in real life. An "Important Novel", if you will. Lemme Wikipedia this. ... ..... ........ Ok. I'm back. Apparently the bug thing is either a metaphor for a "father complex" (Gregor's dad was the most anti-Gregor/anti-bug character) or a take on the "artist struggle" (Gregor's sister is the cruelest, because she can make music). I mean, maybe? I guess that could be what the book means...? There's a cruel father and a gifted daughter...but who knows. I guess the book is so open to interpretation that it could literally mean just about anything. It kind of feels like one of those books just written for the hell of it and then some English teachers got a hold of it and now it's become an Important Novel. Therefore, I'm going to stick with my original interpretation - it's a rather pointless novel about a bug that dies. Personally, I did not like the style, the characters and the ending. It felt painful to read. The actual text was good, but the emotions and the feelings associated with the events just felt incredibly depressing. Plus, as a personal pet peeve - plenty of things happen without a solid explanation or clear motivation... which actually funnels back into my "English teachers got ahold of this novel" theory quite well. Ultimately, this took up time that I can never get back and I don't think I'll ever enjoy it. How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all this nonsense Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to discover he's been transformed into a giant beetle-like creature. Can he and his family adjust to his new form? The Metamorphosis is one of those books that a lot of people get dragooned into reading during high school and therefore are predisposed to loath. I managed to escape this fate and I'm glad. The Metamorphosis is quite a strange little book. Translated from German, The Metamorphosis is the story of how Gregor Samsa's transformation tears his family apa Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to discover he's been transformed into a giant beetle-like creature. Can he and his family adjust to his new form? The Metamorphosis is one of those books that a lot of people get dragooned into reading during high school and therefore are predisposed to loath. I managed to escape this fate and I'm glad. The Metamorphosis is quite a strange little book. Translated from German, The Metamorphosis is the story of how Gregor Samsa's transformation tears his family apart. I feel like there are hidden meanings that are just beyond my grasp. I suspect it's a commentary about how capitalism devours its workers when they're unable to work or possibly about how the people who deviate from the norm are isolated. However, I mostly notice how Samsa's a big frickin' beetle and his family pretends he doesn't exist. There's some absurdist humor at the beginning. Samsa's first thoughts upon finding out he's a beetle is how he's going to miss work. Now, I'm as dedicated to my job as most people but if I woke up to find myself a giant beetle, I don't think I'd have to mull over the decision to take a personal day or two. Aside from that, the main thing that sticks out is what a bunch of bastards Samsa's family is. He's been supporting all of them for years in his soul-crushing traveling salesman job and now they're pissed that they have to carry the workload. Poor things. It's not like Gregor's sitting on the couch drinking beer while they're working. He's a giant damn beetle! Cut him some slack. All kidding aside, the ending is pretty sad. I'll bet Mr. Samsa felt like a prick later. The Metamorphosis gets four stars, primarily for being so strange and also because it's the ancestor of many weird or bizarro tales that came afterwords. It's definitely worth an hour or two of your time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gaurav

    The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis can quite easily be one of Franz Kafka’s best works of literature- one of the best in Existentialist literature. The author shows the struggle of human existence- the problem of living in modern society- through the narrator. Gregor Samsa wakes in his bed and discovers he has transformed into a some kind of a giant bug; he struggles to find what actually has happened to him, he looks around his small room and everything looks normal to him however it The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis can quite easily be one of Franz Kafka’s best works of literature- one of the best in Existentialist literature. The author shows the struggle of human existence- the problem of living in modern society- through the narrator. Gregor Samsa wakes in his bed and discovers he has transformed into a some kind of a giant bug; he struggles to find what actually has happened to him, he looks around his small room and everything looks normal to him however it gets a weird feeling it may not be so. He tries to roll over and go back to sleep in order to forget about what has happened, but because of the shape of his back, he can only rock from side to side. "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." The opening line of the novella recounts the bizarre event of Gregor’s transformation in a quite straightforward manner, the author used the contrasting picture of an unusual situation and ordinary things of life to create an absurd world which is chilly, chaotic rather than ordered and rational. Gregor gets used to his insect body and his family feeds him (mainly the wrong things, but they don't care) and removes furniture from his room so that he can freely move around and climb the walls. But they don't want to see his ugly form, he is confined to his room, and usually hides under the sofa when his sister enters with his food, to spare her sensibilities (in contrast to the sweetly human insect Gregor, his sister is not considerate at all, but increasingly antagonistic and cruel); his brutish father chases him back by throwing apples at him when he once comes out. The family members also have to take jobs for they can no longer sponge off the successful son. And the situation breaks down, and the family disintegrates. The problem of alienation is explored to depth in the novella- Gregor become insect and behaviour of his family members change towards him, he may transformed to something unusual at the core he is still the same however he faces problem of acceptance by society due to his transformed appearance. The novella raises some very basic and profound questions of human existence- alienation, identity, being. Kafka questions all our presuppositions of life- success, social position, money, that a healthy life is characterized by a steadily improving standard of living and a socially-acceptable appearance which we think matter most- through Gregor's metamorphosis. These presuppositions of our life pose more serious questions- which are very chilly and which can rip us apart from any sense of our (inauthentic) existence. The author robs Gregor-the protagonist- of every sense of his inauthentic existence by stealing off all assumptions of his life, now he is striped down to the very core of his existence. The protagonist is encountered with basic problems of human existence- what it takes to be?- which we encounter in our lives- if we once appeared socially acceptable and now have ceased to do so, are we still in fact ourselves? Was the socially-acceptable persona in fact ourselves, or is there more essential self-ness in the being we have now become? Or have we, in fact, been nobody in the first place, and are we nobody still? Gregor Samsa can make us think more deeply about our own identity, about the fluidity of what we take to be stable and fixed, and about the perils and miracles of our own metamorphoses. Kafka shows us that how the values of conventional society are warped due to our inability to look beyond the surface to the human being inside.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Petal X

    A paraphrase. When my ex-husband went out one evening from unsettling dreams of how faraway his wife was, he went out drinking and whoring. Next morning he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. A cockroach. Much he knew it though. None of his friends recognised it, in fact they preferred the cockroach to the person he had been and he had a great time. When it was time for him to come home, armour-plated as he was he crushed his wife underfoot (well fists and kicks, but same t A paraphrase. When my ex-husband went out one evening from unsettling dreams of how faraway his wife was, he went out drinking and whoring. Next morning he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. A cockroach. Much he knew it though. None of his friends recognised it, in fact they preferred the cockroach to the person he had been and he had a great time. When it was time for him to come home, armour-plated as he was he crushed his wife underfoot (well fists and kicks, but same thing). Unlike Kafka's poor cockroach whom no one could come to terms with and is destroyed by their ultimate hatred of creepy, crawly insects that roam the house, my ex was embraced by all and became the most popular party person. Although at one stage I did have to fight off a woman who was swinging her handbag at me and tell a Spanish prostitute that my husband's unwanted attentions were no business of mine. The moral of the story is that there is more than one type of human cockroach and Kafka only wrote about one. It's all in the shell, if you are ugly, big, brown and with six legs you are hated. But handsome, big brown and with only two, you are adored. Read this book back in 1999 and loved it. Social isolation for visible or invisible characterists reverberated with me, as did the cold gang mentality that rules once each has identified itself as a sympathetic member. 5 star book 2 star ex husband (I did get my son so he gets a star for that).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Gregor waking up one morning as a bug was a hilarious analogy of the effects an illness can have on someone, as well as on those who are close to him. Though the underlying story behind the hilarity of the analogy was anything but funny. I took it as more of a warning of what NOT to do when a loved-one is afflicted by some unfortunate disease or circumstance. I found his resistance of acknowledging to himself that he had become a bug in the beginning of the story to be very interesting. When he Gregor waking up one morning as a bug was a hilarious analogy of the effects an illness can have on someone, as well as on those who are close to him. Though the underlying story behind the hilarity of the analogy was anything but funny. I took it as more of a warning of what NOT to do when a loved-one is afflicted by some unfortunate disease or circumstance. I found his resistance of acknowledging to himself that he had become a bug in the beginning of the story to be very interesting. When he couldn't ignore his state any longer, he looked to others' reactions as to how he would look at his own condition. As he was trying to unlock his bedroom door to let his parents and supervisor in, he thought, "If they took fright, then Gregor would have no further responsibility and could rest in peace. But if they took it all calmly, then he had no reason to get excited either and he could, if he hurried, actually be at the station by eight." The reaction of those around him, and most importantly, those of his closest loved-ones, is what influenced his own attitude towards himself and his own state. He became completely ashamed of himself, striving to completely hide himself from view, though it took great effort and pain on his part to do so. His imprisonment, or rather, his confinement from the company of others, had a devastating affect upon his mental well-being and in turn, affected his physical well-being. Such a sad story and the fact that his family didn't feel remorse for their actions, but relief for themselves at his death... I don't believe Kafka was trying to say this is how humans are indubitably, even though most of them try to put on a show of galantry and higher morals. But that humans certainly can become some of the most self-serving, self-centered creatures on Earth. It serves as a warning to us all that while it is good to allow others to serve us from time to time, it is far better to always serve others. Gregor's family had all become accustomed to being taken care of by him. They didn't even mind that he was held in servitude to pay off their debts. This was made evident when the fact was made known that Gregor's father had been saving up extra money earned by Gregor, when it could have been used to pay for his freedom much sooner. Gregor, on the other hand, had been serving his family and loved them purely because of it. His first thought was not of himself, but of the hardship his condition would cause his family. So lest we fall into such an ugly state of existence, let us guard ourselves by serving those we love, thus loving more those we serve.

  7. 4 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    My ever dearest Kafka, It has come to my attention that you've left a manuscript behind pertaining to the extermination of vermins. So my eccentric little self decided to pick up a copy of yours hoping to annihilate pests of the worst, possibly, the most malicious kind, only to find out you didn't offer such trick. Well, woe is me! There goes me gay self screaming and running away from flying roaches! Ackkkk! Shoooo! Oh bollocks, you could've helped! Interestingly, what I discovered was a lustrou My ever dearest Kafka, It has come to my attention that you've left a manuscript behind pertaining to the extermination of vermins. So my eccentric little self decided to pick up a copy of yours hoping to annihilate pests of the worst, possibly, the most malicious kind, only to find out you didn't offer such trick. Well, woe is me! There goes me gay self screaming and running away from flying roaches! Ackkkk! Shoooo! Oh bollocks, you could've helped! Interestingly, what I discovered was a lustrous gem of sorts — a brilliant speculative fiction that neither offers answers nor questions as to why something is happening, only that it is really occurring! While I thought to turn Gregor Samsa into a monstrous insect was quite preposterous, it seems that in the end, it was the most logical choice, or so I thought! If Alice was to trot along with me and find this surreal handbook with absurdist humour, I wager that she'll say the same thing when she was in Wonderland a long time ago, "Curiouser and curiouser!" Indeed, it was baffling and sufficient to bedazzle your foes! Give this as a gift, let them read and interpret it, and wish upon a bloody star that one day your enemies will metamorphose into a despicable vermin that you can whack or swat with tremendous gusto, that is, depending on their particular form. Being turned into a monstrous insect is no mean feat especially if you're a travelling salesman and a breadwinner with a family to support — an asthmatic mother, a workshy father, and a clueless sister. Unfortunately, poor Gregor took that frightful curse of being turned into a vermin of sorts. Once a human who was socially acceptable, now he's but a social pariah — alienated, ostracised, and discriminated. I wonder though what you've really meant by this novella of yours. Was this a philosophical commentary or an allegory about the human condition, human nature, or our precarious existence? Was this a mirror that reflects how we treat others who are entirely different? Was this your way to expose the masks that we've held long enough just to uncover our true essence as human beings? Was this your life story? Were you trying to unveil the nefarious ways how humans can be so corrupt to their core that they forgot how to care, see each other through by loving one another and showing kindness in so many ways? That I wouldn't know for you are not here. All you've left is but a manuscript that will leave us feeling discombobulated for many years to come! How disappointing! Anyways, your version of vermins is already obsolete, my friend. Ever since you've left this world, vermins in the form of some reprehensible humans have survived! Yes, we do have that in our lives, unfortunately, which reminds me that I might need to further transmogrify them into roaches and whack, smoosh, squish-squash those little scuttling critters out of existence by wielding my handy-dandy, ever-reliable broomstick! Not all vermins are worth the empathy, mind you! Only your story does. Wish me luck though! This one will feel like a game of Whack-a-Mole with me squealing while chasing those pests away from my life! Your fan and friend, JV Audiobook rating (narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch): Narrative voice & style - ★★★★★ Vocal characterisation - ★★★★★ Inflexion & intonation - ★★★★★ Voice quality - ★★★★★ Audiobook verdict - ★★★★★ (Exquisite performance, superbly brilliant, a must-have!)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adina

    4* for the novella + 1* for Benedict Cumberbatch narration ( I adore his voice). A family (mother, father and sister) are forced to become responsible and find jobs when the son, the sole provider of the family, has a sort of a disease and cannot work anymore. As he becomes useless he is marginalized and despised. I almost forgot, the disease is that the son wakes up in the morning as a cockroach. Methamorphosis is considered one of the best books ever written which is quite remarkable consideri 4* for the novella + 1* for Benedict Cumberbatch narration ( I adore his voice). A family (mother, father and sister) are forced to become responsible and find jobs when the son, the sole provider of the family, has a sort of a disease and cannot work anymore. As he becomes useless he is marginalized and despised. I almost forgot, the disease is that the son wakes up in the morning as a cockroach. Methamorphosis is considered one of the best books ever written which is quite remarkable considering its size. To succeed to have such an impact in a few pages is an accomplishment. At a first glance it is the story of Gregor Samsa, who wakes up transformed as a vermin and becomes treated like one by the family. As with great literature, and with Kafka in particular, there is more than meets the eye. Some of the themes that come to my mind (and some that I read in other reviews) are: - What happens when a person is no longer sociable acceptable and it becomes marginalized - The novel can be seen as a critic of discrimination or - Kafka’s own existential suffering and his alienation from the world ( I think some reading about Kafka’s life is needed to better understand his work). - A fable of Jews’ condition For a better and more in depth analysis of the novella please check Vladimir Nabokov’s contribution: http://www.kafka.org/index.php?id=191...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Kafka’s classic tale written in 1912 is about the changes that can come about in our lives. Up until the very end, the entire tale takes place in an apartment of a mother, father, son and daughter. The son is unfortunately unable to continue to perform his job as a traveling salesman and support his family financially. This abrupt change forces the father, mother and daughter to exert more energy in their lives and take steps to earn money. Here is a word about each member of the family: The Fath Kafka’s classic tale written in 1912 is about the changes that can come about in our lives. Up until the very end, the entire tale takes place in an apartment of a mother, father, son and daughter. The son is unfortunately unable to continue to perform his job as a traveling salesman and support his family financially. This abrupt change forces the father, mother and daughter to exert more energy in their lives and take steps to earn money. Here is a word about each member of the family: The Father – At the beginning of the tale he is too worn out to even stand up straight and walk across the apartment without pausing. At the end, he stands up straight, combs his white hair neatly, wears a uniform smartly in his new job working for a bank and can take charge of family situations and challenges with authority. The Mother – At the outset, she is weak and helpless. At the end, she does the household cooking and helps support her family through taking in sewing. The Daughter – A wan stay-at-home at the beginning and a healthy out-in-the-world worker at the end. At the very end, this 17 year-old blossoms into an attractive young lady, a real catch for some lucky guy. This Kafka tale is, in some important ways, the forerunner of such books as ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Of course, what I've written above is tongue-in-cheek; not to be taken seriously! Review of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka ---- Take 2 If I didn’t write this ‘Take 2’ I suspect my book review would be the first in nearly 100 years not to mention Gregor wakes up transformed into an enormous bug. Since there already so many reviews posted, I’d like to offer several brief observations: • What is it about our attempt to maintain the status quo? Gregor is transformed into a monstrous verminous bug and all he and his mother and father and sister can ask is: ‘How can we change things back to how they were?’. • The objective 3rd person narrator lets us know directly that although Gregor’s body has transformed, he still has his human mind with its memories. Why does his family assume Gregor lost his human mind? If they wanted, they could simply ask him questions to find out. For example, ‘Gregor, if you can understand what I am saying, move over to the right side of your room’. This speaks volumes about how people are too narrow in their thinking to deal with life creatively and with imagination. • What adds to the eeriness of Kafka tale is Gregor’s metamorphosis is in stark contrast to the humdrum regularity of the family in their apartment. The possible exception is the absurdist scene at the beginning where Gregor’s manager knocks on the door and insists on knowing why Gregor missed the early morning train. This combination of these opposites is a stroke of genius. • The most insightful review of this Kafka tale I’ve read is from Vladimir Nabokov ------ http://www.kafka.org/index.php?id=191.... Nabokov adjudged Kafka’s tale the greatest novel of the 20th century behind Joyce’s Ulysses.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Gregor Samsa awakes from a bad dream, into a mad nightmare, as he struggles, stuck in his own bed this weary, young traveling salesman, has overnight been miraculously transformed... incredibly Gregor is now a hideous bug, a dung beetle , or even a cockroach does it really matter what ? He has missed his train in more ways than one, but Samsa, is a real trooper, still thinks he can catch the locomotive and make that vile business trip, eventually getting off the bed with great difficulty, just a Gregor Samsa awakes from a bad dream, into a mad nightmare, as he struggles, stuck in his own bed this weary, young traveling salesman, has overnight been miraculously transformed... incredibly Gregor is now a hideous bug, a dung beetle , or even a cockroach does it really matter what ? He has missed his train in more ways than one, but Samsa, is a real trooper, still thinks he can catch the locomotive and make that vile business trip, eventually getting off the bed with great difficulty, just a slight crash, in truth, opening the locked door somehow and moving around on the floor, in his many, new, ugly little legs the parents and sister are greatly shocked, at his new repulsive appearance. And when the office manager arrives to see what happened , big mistake, he spots Samsa and is out the door without a word spoken (twitching a little). Now the "Bug" becomes a burden to his lazy, ungrateful family after years of Gregor supporting them, all by himself (a job he hated, with a big passion), they much embarrassed , hide him in his modest quiet room, feeding the "monstrous vermin", leftover garbage from their table scraps, a menu the bug implausibly prefers...Months pass and it becomes obvious something has to give, the reader will decide is Samsa a real dung beetle, or is he mentally ill? But to some, the gist of the fable is, how much does your family love you? A brutal depiction of a family in tremendous turmoil...expediency triumphs.

  11. 5 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    It was no dream. Gregor Samsa awakes one day, changed forever. How unpredictable is life, one moment leading to a new labyrinth of existence where forward is the only motion available, our scars and choices following us in a tuneless parade with few interested spectators. Despite our lives being a personal struggle, it is constantly judged, criticized and appraised by all those whom we encounter. Oh, the injuries we inflict upon one another. We alienate and assume instead of communicate, we fear It was no dream. Gregor Samsa awakes one day, changed forever. How unpredictable is life, one moment leading to a new labyrinth of existence where forward is the only motion available, our scars and choices following us in a tuneless parade with few interested spectators. Despite our lives being a personal struggle, it is constantly judged, criticized and appraised by all those whom we encounter. Oh, the injuries we inflict upon one another. We alienate and assume instead of communicate, we fear differences and we yell when we should love. Strange how the ones we love tend to be the ones we hurt, or hurt us the most. Kafka’s classic story The Metamorphosis is an alarming tale of alienation and hurt that seems fantastical on the outside to house a bitter pill of reality that has roots in us all. What is most compelling about Kafka is his ability to construct a tale from personal anxiety and injury that broadcasts as a universal message to all that read it, honing in on the guilt, loneliness and frustration in every heart. Gregor’s terrifying tale of transformation is a powerful rendition of guilt and the failure to succeed in a father’s eyes that utilizes religious imagery and fantastical occurences to drive the knife into the reader’s heart and soul. Gregor lives a life of solemn servitude to his job and, most importantly, his family. His job is a necessity to support a family whose debts accrued by the now-unemployed father are being repaid by the fruits of Gregor’s labor. While Gregor has provided the family with a modest home which he shares with them, the debt seems an unquenchable burden he can never fulfill. In the original German, the word schuld means both ‘debt’ and ‘guilt’¹, a critical texture to the text ironed away by translation that opens a gateway of understanding Gregor’s father issues. There is the guilt at being unable to satisfy the father, to live up to the father, and the senior Samsa is a quick tempered man. Kafka struggled with a strained relationship with his own abusive father, a struggle that he transformed into a literary theme permeating much of his artistic output. Much of Kafka’s life soaks into this work, much like the constant slamming doors he often complained of in his own household with his family. Despite his transformation, what initially upsets Gregor most is that he is missing work. I felt this sting deep within myself, being the head of a household and barely making ends meet despite long hours. The burden of the working class is to be so dependant on a job as life-blood creating a system of guilt and depraved necessity that pulls us from bed to work despite any affliction; we must work, we must provide, we must survive. To stumble is to die, yet even staggering onward seems just a slow suicide climbing towards an unattainable surface from our pit of existence. Gregor feels this, the reader feels this, and Kafka’s magic has been unleashed. To fail to work is yet another failure in the eyes of the obdurate father. The father and the Father seem united in the character of the elder Samsa. Kafka himself struggled with his Jewish identity, made plain in his diaries. As Vladimir Nabokov points out in his exquisite lectures on The Metamorphosis², the number three is pivotal to the understanding of the story. The story is divided into three parts. There are three doors to Gregor’s room. His family consists of three people. Three servants appear in the course of the story. Three lodgers have three beards. Three Samsas write three letters. Three, of course, representing the Holy Trinity (there are many other important details surrounding three, such as the clock tower striking three after Gregor retreats into his room, or Gregor standing on his three hind legs since the fourth was damaged beyond repair). The rejection and unfulfillment of the father is also Gregor’s failure to be valuable in the eyes of the Father, God, and perhaps this may be the cause of the unexplained (and rather unquestioned for the most part) transformation that has befallen the poor man. The fatal blow pinning Gregor to the ground like a crucified Christ (while this may be a slight stretch, there are other Christ-like references such as the sudden pain in Gregor's side much like the spear in the side while on the cross) is an Edenic apple thrown from the father, rotting and festering in him like our sins until we breath our last. ‘All language is but a poor translation,’ said Kafka, made evident in Gregor’s failure to communicate in his new form. Communication is the cornerstone of understanding others, and being stripped of his voice severs his link to his family and humanity. ‘That was the voice of an animal,’ the office chief exclaims after Gregor attempts to communicate with them through language. With his loss of language, his family slowly ceases to view him as Gregor but as a dumb beast, easing them into letting go of their notions that he is still Gregor. He is now an unproductive, dumb hindrance to their lives and they begin to forget him and move on to a productive life of work and family without him. It is like an invalid aging relative, many continue to care for them out of respect for their memory, but the person slowly becomes a chore or a burden and not a human-being in their minds. Another view of Gregor in his new state is that of a person stricken by crushing depression or other mental or emotional ailments where those around them begin to view them by their illness and not their soul. They forget the person that is still there, the person they know and love, and dwell on the chasm forged between them. It is human nature, it makes it easier to cope. How many people walk away when times get tough, even abandon the ones they love because it is easier to convince yourself they are not the person you loved than it is to fight for them or fight for what was once had. Kafka’s genius is that he took a personal experience and related it as a universal parable with endless interpretations, each unique and equally valid as they blossom within each respective reader. Rereading this story was a rewarding experience and I very much connected with it. Gregor was a traveling businessman, and I am a traveling delivery driver. The musings on the plight and unique depression of long hours in strange faraway places hit home, as well as the notion from everyone else that traveling in such a manner is some royal treat. Granted, I greatly enjoy the work and the freedom of being, essentially, a professional vagrant, yet there is a tinge of alienation being a person without an anchor, always on the move, always chasing a horizon. The feelings of guilt, of alienation, the struggles with family, everything range true plucking my heartstrings like a guitar to form a foreboding yet fantastic melody. Kafka is as relevant to the modern reader as he was in his own time with themes that illuminate us with their timeless insight into society and the individual. 4.5/5 I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself. ¹ There is an interesting article recently published by the BBC on ‘the German’s debt psyche’ and the cultural relationship between debt and guilt stemming from the word schuld. ² There is a wonderful film adaptation of Nabokov’s lectures with Christopher Plummer as Nabokov. You can watch it here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    One morning a young man woke up and decided he didn't want to leave his room. He felt at odds with the world and wished he could opt out of his busy life. He knew he was unlikely to get away with skipping school, so he thought about how to find a perfect excuse. His eyes fell upon the half-read copy of Kafka's Metamorphosis he had left beside his bed, and was pleased. When his stressed mum banged on the bedroom door and yelled that it was time for breakfast, shower and school, he answered: "I ca One morning a young man woke up and decided he didn't want to leave his room. He felt at odds with the world and wished he could opt out of his busy life. He knew he was unlikely to get away with skipping school, so he thought about how to find a perfect excuse. His eyes fell upon the half-read copy of Kafka's Metamorphosis he had left beside his bed, and was pleased. When his stressed mum banged on the bedroom door and yelled that it was time for breakfast, shower and school, he answered: "I can't!" "What kind of nonsense is that?" yelled his mum. "I have been transformed into a giant insect and can't move my arms and legs! I mean my legs and legs!" "Ooooohhh please, I don't have time for this stupid game, get out of your room now, and get ready!" "You can leave, I'll stay here!" But his mum knew her Kafka well, and was not ready to let go of her eldest son. Vermin or not, he would socialise and be part of the family. And he would go to school. "Listen!" she yelled at him. "You live in the wrong place and the wrong time! We care about people here in Sweden, no matter what their personal condition is. If you have a minor insectification problem, so be it. I will write and explain to your teacher that you need certain special education tools, and we can find you a hobby that fits your ability as well." "No! They will bully me." "Oh no! There is a perfectly functional anti-bullying programme at your school, and you have been working on it yourself!" "No! I feel weak!" "Oh forget it! Fresh air is just the right environment for insects! What kind of bug are you anyway?" "Mum!" "Yes, I thought I could send an email to your grandparents, announcing the change!" "Mum!" "Your siblings have a right to know as well. Shall I go and get one of those nature books, so you can check for yourself?" "Mum, you are not going to stay outside my room for the rest of the day, are you? Haven't you got a job to go to?" "I'll call in sick to take care of my insect son!" "Can't you just leave me alone?" "Nope! I'll wait here with an action plan until you open your door and come out! I stick by my children, whatever mess they have gotten themselves into!" "Okay, I give up! It is impossible to be an isolated, grumpy, neglected insect these days, with all those over-active parents and student care teams buzzing around like annoying flies!" The young man opened the door, went through his morning rituals, left for school, and did his chores. In the evening, he finished reading Kafka. "Maybe it's not so bad to live here and now after all", he said, smiling in a truly Kafkaesque way. The story could be true.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    Surreal, inexplicable and unusual, Kafka explores the futility of human existence. Or does he? Gregor Sansa is turned into a bug and through the process he realises just how insignificant he is, how insignificant we all, ultimately, are in the greater scheme of things. He was his family’s backbone, holding them up, supporting them financially whist they took the easy path. However, when that backbone is removed the unit adapts; it carries on and finds new means of survival. The most important me Surreal, inexplicable and unusual, Kafka explores the futility of human existence. Or does he? Gregor Sansa is turned into a bug and through the process he realises just how insignificant he is, how insignificant we all, ultimately, are in the greater scheme of things. He was his family’s backbone, holding them up, supporting them financially whist they took the easy path. However, when that backbone is removed the unit adapts; it carries on and finds new means of survival. The most important member of the family is swept aside, forgotten about and life continues as it always must. I guess he wasn’t that important after all. There are so many designs that can be put onto this story, so many interpretations. And this is what Kafka does so well. He leaves you with absolutely nothing, no answers or explanations, only a simple case of this happened and it ended like this. We as readers look for meaning within the narrative because that is how narrative traditionally works. There has to be a point to it all, right? But perhaps that is the point: there is no point. Perhaps by looking too hard we miss what Kafka is trying to say, or not say, with his passive writing. There are certainly elements of alienation in here, even in the recollections Gregor has before he was turned into a bug. As per the modernist mode, he was isolated from his peers and the world at large. Powerlessness is also another theme that runs through the story. Gregor’s family, and Gregor, cannot stop what is happening. They just have to go on with it and hope to make it through to the other side. A suggestion that no matter how hard we work in life, how much love or success we appear to have, we can be struck down at any moment. Forced into a situation we cannot control, we perish. Such is life. It would be easy to talk about elements of Kafka’s own biography here, and consider the work’s relevance to events that would eventually happen later in the century, but I think that would be to put too much of a design on the book. His personal feelings about life obviously helped to propel much of his writing. He wrote many strange stories, though Metamorphosis is the most renowned of his work. Utterly compelling, yet bewildering, this isn’t a story that will ever leave the reader. It’s haunting and told with realistic mundanity. “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous bug…”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more

    Any day you wake up as a cockroach is a shit day.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    "Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt." ("One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from restless dreams, he discovered in his bed that he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.") This novella starts with a shock, but ignores the "why" and "how" (I don't think anyone in the book ever asked either of those questions) in favor of exploring Gregor's and his family's reactions to the change and "Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt." ("One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from restless dreams, he discovered in his bed that he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.") This novella starts with a shock, but ignores the "why" and "how" (I don't think anyone in the book ever asked either of those questions) in favor of exploring Gregor's and his family's reactions to the change and how it affects their relationships and their lives. Franz Kafka had a fraught relationship with his father, a butcher and a loud, overbearing, self-satisfied man who was critical of Franz. I can see Kafka's internal feeling of insufficiency giving root to this story where it is externalized into the physical appearance of a loathsome bug, alienated from all around him. Interestingly, the number three plays a repeated role: three parts to the story, three family members, three servants, three bearded lodgers... It's debatable what this means, but I tend to think Kafka was referencing the number three's popularity in folk and fairy tales (three wishes, three brothers, three billy goats Gruff, etc.) to give his story additional heft and a more timeless feel, rather than, say, it being used here a religious symbol. But Kafka, who was Jewish, did use some religious and even Christian symbols. Note the symbolic apple and the crucifixion imagery here:An apple thrown without much force glanced against Gregor's back and slid off without doing any harm. Another one however, immediately following it, hit squarely and lodged in his back; Gregor wanted to drag himself away, as if he could remove the surprising, the incredible pain by changing his position; but he felt as if nailed to the spot and spread himself out, all his senses in confusion.My main thought after finishing this is that the family relationships being dissected here are incredibly sad, and disturbing. In an essay on The Metamorphosis, Vladimir Nabokov stated that "Gregor is a human being in an insect's disguise; his family are insects disguised as people." I've gone back and forth on whether I agree with this, but it certainly has given me a lot of food for thought: There's the originally loving sister who turns on him, the frail and helpless mother who lets him be mistreated, and the father who attacks him physically in the only two interactions they have. They betray him repeatedly, and Gregor always accepts it meekly and even makes excuses to himself for their mistreatment of him. His father stashing away Gregor's wages while Gregor was working at a horrific job to pay off the father's bankruptcy, was awful to read about, and Gregor simply rationalizes it. It's particularly chilling how in the end they all brush off (view spoiler)[Gregor's death and cheerfully move on, even blossom hatch from their cocoons, after he's gone (hide spoiler)] . I ended up reading about 30% of this in German and the rest in English, going back and forth between two side-by-side versions. Some of the German dialogue and expressions don't translate well into English. For example, Gregor's boss is called "Herr Prokurist" -- literally, Mr. Manager (which was the name used for him in one translation I looked at), but it sounds very lame in English. So I appreciated the additional level of authenticity and even insight that reading parts of this in the original German gave to me. The more I think about this and pick it apart, the more impressed I am with it. There are so many layers to this story. I started out with 3 stars based on my college memories of reading this, upped it to 4 stars when I finished it the other day, and, after spending more time analyzing it for this review, am finally winding up with 5. December 14, 2015 reread with the Non-Crunchy Cool Classic Pantaloonless Buddy Readers group. I highly recommend taking a look at Vladimir Nabokov's lecture and notes on The Metamorphosis, here at the Kafka Project website. Initial post:I didn't care for this when I studied it in college but I'm hoping it will grow on me this time. I've found a cool website with side-by-side English and German versions of the story: http://bilinguis.com/book/metamorphos... So my intention is to try to work through this novella in German. Wish me luck! <---ETA: this was a semi-successful experiment. See above.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Die Verwandlung = The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was first published in 1915. One of Kafka's best-known works, The Metamorphosis tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect and subsequently struggling to adjust to this new condition. The novella has been widely discussed among literary critics, with differing interpretations being of Die Verwandlung = The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was first published in 1915. One of Kafka's best-known works, The Metamorphosis tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect and subsequently struggling to adjust to this new condition. The novella has been widely discussed among literary critics, with differing interpretations being offered. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1974 میلادی؛ بار دیگر: روز دهم ماه نوامبر سال 1995 میلادی عنوان: مسخ و گراکوس شکارچی؛ نوشته: فرانتس کافکا؛ مترجم: صادق هدایت؛ کتاب در قطع جیبی و شامل داستانهای: مسخ؛ گراکوس شکارچی؛ شمشیر؛ در کنیسه ما نخستین ترجمه فارسی این اثر از متن فرانسه به قلم روانشاد صادق هدایت منتشر شد. سپس ترجمه بانو فرزانه طاهری در سال 1358 هجری خورشیدی توسط انتشارات نیلوفر که از متن انگلیسی ترجمه شده بود انتشار یافت. ترجمه دیگری نیز از جناب علی اصغر حداد را که از متن اصلی و زبان آلمانی ترجمه شده نشر ماهی منتشر کرده است مَسخ داستان کوتاهی از فرانتس کافکا ست؛ که در ماه اکتبر 1915 میلادی، در لایپزیگ به چاپ رسید. مسخ از مهمترین آثار ادبیات فانتزی سده ی بیستم میلادی ست، که در دانشکده‌ ها و آموزشگاه‌ های ادبیات سراسر جهان غرب، تدریس می‌شود. داستان، در مورد فروشنده ی جوانی به نام «گرگور سامسا» ست؛ که یکروز صبح از خواب بیدار، و متوجه می‌شود که به یک مخلوق نفرت‌ انگیز حشره‌ مانند، تبدیل شده است. دلیل مسخ سامسا در طول داستان بازگو نمی‌شود، و خود کافکا نیز هیچگاه در مورد آن توضیحی ندادند. لحن روشن، دقیق، و رسمی نویسنده در این کتاب، تضادی حیرت انگیز با موضوع کابوس‌وار داستان دارد. ولادیمیر ناباکوف در مورد این داستان گفته است: «اگر کسی مسخ کافکا را چیزی بیش از یک خیال‌پردازی حشره‌ شناسانه بداند، به او تبریک می‌گویم، چون به صف خوانشگران خوب، و بزرگ پیوسته است.». مترجم فرانسه مسخ معتقد است که: گرگور سامسا در واقع کنایه‌ ای از شخصیت خود نویسنده (کافکا) است. از متن پشت جلد کتاب: نویسندگان کمیابی هستند که برای نخستین بار، سبک و فکر و موضوع تازه ای را به میان میکشند، به خصوص معنی جدید میآورند؛ که پیش از آنها وجود نداشته است. کافکا یکی از هنرمندترین نویسندگان این دسته به شمار میآید. خوانشگری که با دنیای کافکا سر و کار پیدا میکند، در حالی که خرد و خیره شده، باز هم به سویش کشیده میشود. همین که از آستانه ی دنیایش گذشت، تأثیر آن را در زندگی خود نیز حس میکند و پی میبرد که دنیا آنقدر هم بن بست نبوده است. ا. شربیانی

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samra Yusuf

    When I was a child,I used to get myself hide for some time and animatedly hear what’s everyone saying about my disappearance……we all are walled up by insecurities, incarcerated by uncertainties, captivated by absurdities and haunted by fears of losing the people we love so helplessly ………… Kafka touches delicate strings of relations, with such audacity and ingenuousness that Metamorphosis becomes a voice on drum even after more than 100 years of its publication.. Kafka’s writings largely originated When I was a child,I used to get myself hide for some time and animatedly hear what’s everyone saying about my disappearance……we all are walled up by insecurities, incarcerated by uncertainties, captivated by absurdities and haunted by fears of losing the people we love so helplessly ………… Kafka touches delicate strings of relations, with such audacity and ingenuousness that Metamorphosis becomes a voice on drum even after more than 100 years of its publication.. Kafka’s writings largely originated from the conflicted relationship he experienced with his family, especially his father, and the glimpse of that biographical connection is vividly portrayed in form of our main character Gregor Samsa,who to his utter misfortune gets up one morning just to witness a horrendous insect of himself transformed overnight…. So what do we expect him to do now? Consider himself in mid of some nightmere and sleep again? Shriek vehemently by first transformed-sight of himself? Think of suicide maybe? No,he doesn’t do such thing,and here we come to know typical kafka-hero,Gregor is little startled to see himself an enormous insect and littler worried to get back into human form.the first thought strikes his head is of being late today from job and catching train to reach office.and counting time as he keeps lying in bed for a good deal time.and this is the thinking that paves ground for Marxist approach of the novella. Gregor is the representative of proletariat class trying so bad to catch up with bourgoais, considering job “travelling day in and travelling day out..” and bosses “pain in ass”…..a little box is not enough to touch other approaches like symbolism, structuralism and a semblance of feminism in story. The most horrific factor though is of alienation,Gregor in his own home is confined to hide and is treated strictly like the one he looks………an insect a bigger one! Gregor becomes noticeably less human and more accepting of his transformative state. With each act, Gregor also becomes physically weaker. As his family abandons its denial of his insectlike appearance and their hope for his full recovery to a normal human condition, they gradually become indifferent to his fate and recognize their need to pursue their lives without him. His father returns to work, his mother learns to operate the house without the help of a maid, even adding the burden of taking in boarders, and his sister assumes the responsibilities of adulthood. Where once he was the center of their lives, he now becomes an unnecessary burden and an embarrassment. And this is when he abandons hope………. Gregor dies of disappointment!

  18. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to The Metamorphosis, written in 1915 by Franz Kafka. I think most people are familiar with the premise of this book, and rather than do a normal review, I thought maybe I'd question how on earth Kafka came up with this one? It was such a great way to tell the story and teach a lesson... a man wakes up as a giant beetle? (I secretly suspect he came across a huge cockroach in his apartment while in NYC one day). And how do you deal with such a change? Your family i Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to The Metamorphosis, written in 1915 by Franz Kafka. I think most people are familiar with the premise of this book, and rather than do a normal review, I thought maybe I'd question how on earth Kafka came up with this one? It was such a great way to tell the story and teach a lesson... a man wakes up as a giant beetle? (I secretly suspect he came across a huge cockroach in his apartment while in NYC one day). And how do you deal with such a change? Your family is afraid. They are embarrassed. You can talk. What's really going on here? What is Kafka trying to say about life? We're all insensitive? Liars? Fakes? Humorists? Nutty? So many things to read into here... it's a run book, too. When you're a bug life's quite different. Have you ever managed something like that before? No. So how did Kafka come up with all the little things to make it real? I'm glad he did as this book helps you enjoy reading when you may be forced to read some classics at a younger age that don't appeal to you. As an more mature reader, you find all the symbols and beauty in the messages with this one. I believe I read it twice, possibly some excerpts for a third instance. Each time, it gets better. I would love to see a really good film or TV Adaption... purely to witness the metaphorical views a director would incorporate on the big screen or the stage. The words are amazing, but it's what you experience by reading it that makes it such a wonderful book. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Technically I read this book in German, and if I could give it zero stars, I would. I read the first sentence (in German, mind you) around 3:30 in the morning earlier this semester, and was convinced I was loosing my mind and that I couldn't be translating it right. It read: "Gregor Samsa awoke on morning to discover that he had somehow transformed into a giant cockaroach". After typing the sentence into freetranslation.com and finding out I actually had read and translated it correctly, I thoug Technically I read this book in German, and if I could give it zero stars, I would. I read the first sentence (in German, mind you) around 3:30 in the morning earlier this semester, and was convinced I was loosing my mind and that I couldn't be translating it right. It read: "Gregor Samsa awoke on morning to discover that he had somehow transformed into a giant cockaroach". After typing the sentence into freetranslation.com and finding out I actually had read and translated it correctly, I thought for sure the author had lost his mind. I'm sorry, but all this stuff about him being a symbol for Jesus and struggling for mankind is a bit over-the-top I think. He's a cockaroach. There's no explaination for it, and his family is only mild freaked out at the fact that he suddenly turned into a giant bug. If the family tried to take him to the doctor, or sell him to the circus, or perhaps even give a damn at all, the story might have kept my attention for more than the first few pages.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    NOTE: Some of the stories in this edition have also been published in separate collections, and those ones are reviewed under those titles (links included here). Many are short, poignant vignettes, rather than stories, though some have a surreal/magical angle. A definite voyeuristic slant to several (two are explicitly titled about looking through a window). Metamorphosis The provider turns parasite, and in giving up his life, liberates his family. It's a surreal situation: Gregor wakes to find hi NOTE: Some of the stories in this edition have also been published in separate collections, and those ones are reviewed under those titles (links included here). Many are short, poignant vignettes, rather than stories, though some have a surreal/magical angle. A definite voyeuristic slant to several (two are explicitly titled about looking through a window). Metamorphosis The provider turns parasite, and in giving up his life, liberates his family. It's a surreal situation: Gregor wakes to find himself transformed into an unspecified insect, for an unknown reason, contrasted with realistic detail. He wonders what he is, but never why. In this unrealistic situation, it convincingly shows how his thoughts, principles, preferences, attitudes to family, mood etc gradually change as a result. The least real aspect is how pragmatic and accepting everyone is. No one asks "why?" or seeks a cure; they just get on with life as best they can. It is sad, but somehow pointless - except as personal catharsis re his own family. Up till the start of the story, Gregor is well-intentioned: he thinks he is the provider, and wants to be loved and appreciated for it, but he is really a parasite. His overwhelming efforts to provide for his family have sapped them of power and ambition, "so preoccupied with their immediate worries that they had lost all power to look ahead". As an insect, he can understand everything they say, but cannot make himself understood. His sister is empathetic and creative, but even so, the inability to communicate is part of his demise. Yet as he becomes a burden to them, the family blossoms and is rejuvenated; they take control of their lives and sunshine - literally - returns. Ultimately, it is a totemic apple, thrown in anger, by his father that is the end. Here's Vladimir Nabokov on the subject: http://www.kafka.org/index.php?id=191... Aeroplanes at Brescia This is a factual report of Kafka's first sighting of planes, at an air show he attended with friends. His anxiety is more noticeable than his enthusiasm or awe, but there are some good descriptions of incidentals: * "A dirt which is simply there an dis no longer spoken of... a dirt which never alters, which has put down roots." * A host who is "proud in himself, humble towards us". * Sailors etc "can first practice in puddles, thin in ponds, thin in rivers... for these people [pilots] there is only an ocean." * Take-off: "runs off for a long way over the clouds like an awkward performer on the dance floor". * "Twenty metres above the earth is a man entangled in a wooden frame, defending himself against an invisible danger that he has freely taken on." * Society portraits include Puccini with "the nose of a drinker". * "Perfect achievements cannot be appreciated, everyone thinks himself capable... for perfect achievements no courage seems to be necessary." The Coal Scuttle Rider "All the coal used up; the coal-scuttle empty; the shovel meaningless; the stove breathing out cold; the room inflated with frosty air; trees beyond the window rigid with rime; the sky a silver shield against anyone looking for help from there." A cold and destitute... being(?) imagines taking flight on the coal scuttle and begging for a few scraps, in "a voice burned hollow by the frost, wreathed in the clouds of my voice". Penal Colony is particularly gruesome (yet somehow elicits sympathy for the obsessed officer), with scope for Christian/crucifixion interpretation. I've reviewed it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Eleven Sons especially sad but pertinently perceptive of 11 different ways he disappointed his father. This is in The Country Doctor, reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Report to the Academy is an amusingly surreal (reminiscent of Gerald the gorilla in Not the Nine O'clock News) slant on Jewish integration. This is in The Country Doctor, reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The Fasting Artist may be where David Blaine got his idea from. The title is used for a collection of four short stories, mostly concerning performers: this one, plus First Sorrow, and A Little Woman and Josefine the Songstress or The Mouse People, all reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Before the Law is chillingly allegorical and is reviewed here, with a link to the full text: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The Judgement is a domestic judgement, passed by a father on the son in whom he is so disappointed. It's reviewed here, with a link to the full text: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The Dream and Before the Law are actually from his novel The Trial, which is on my Kafka-related bookshelf (http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...), along with lots of others, including biographies. The section of this titled Meditation is sometimes published separately under that title, or Contemplation. My reviews of those are under that title, here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... The Stoker is reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., but is actually the first chapter of his novel, Amerika.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    So, he woke up and found himself transformed into a big insect. That is something you don't read about everyday. I loved this novella. Kafka's well known for creating absurd and claustrophobic universes that a lot of us can relate to. The Metamorphosis is no exception. It has a lot of meanings, symbolism everywhere; a deep, philosophical twist that I love. There's this guy, who is not quite excited about his job, his boss in particular (weird, huh?). And then, out of the blue, he becomes an insec So, he woke up and found himself transformed into a big insect. That is something you don't read about everyday. I loved this novella. Kafka's well known for creating absurd and claustrophobic universes that a lot of us can relate to. The Metamorphosis is no exception. It has a lot of meanings, symbolism everywhere; a deep, philosophical twist that I love. There's this guy, who is not quite excited about his job, his boss in particular (weird, huh?). And then, out of the blue, he becomes an insect. He realizes that he's now a burden to his family. He is alone in his own house. He once was a relevant part of the family, a provider. But now, being an insect and all, he can't support them anymore; he is useless. An alienated and depressed burden with a lot of skinny legs. That can be such a familiar feeling (except for the transformation into an actual insect, of course). And Kafka describes it disgustingly beautiful. I read it in high school, and loved it. I read it again and loved it more. There's not a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings in a Kafkaesque universe; they can be cold, confusing, honest... real. But with a touch of humor that prevents you from wanting to jump off your balcony. * Also on my blog.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sid

    The way how the wide spectrum of human behavior, nature, emotions and reactions is illustrated in this book does a huge favor to every single word written in it. The truth of every relationship, the vanity of human nature, the highs and lows of human emotions, the actions one takes in certain circumstances and the reactions one gives intentionally or unintentionally have been very beautifully portrayed in this book. This book has a lot to teach if one is a keen reader. Must read for people who e The way how the wide spectrum of human behavior, nature, emotions and reactions is illustrated in this book does a huge favor to every single word written in it. The truth of every relationship, the vanity of human nature, the highs and lows of human emotions, the actions one takes in certain circumstances and the reactions one gives intentionally or unintentionally have been very beautifully portrayed in this book. This book has a lot to teach if one is a keen reader. Must read for people who enjoy reading about human psychology.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    What a shocking beginning.........Gregor Samsa is a devoted son working as a traveling salesman, a stressful job he abhors, in order to support his parents and seventeen year old sister, but looks forward to the time when all their debts will be paid so he can finally make a change.......... but not the kind he soon experiences. "As Gregor Samsa awoke from unsettling dreams one morning, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. His many legs, which were pathetically thin c What a shocking beginning.........Gregor Samsa is a devoted son working as a traveling salesman, a stressful job he abhors, in order to support his parents and seventeen year old sister, but looks forward to the time when all their debts will be paid so he can finally make a change.......... but not the kind he soon experiences. "As Gregor Samsa awoke from unsettling dreams one morning, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. His many legs, which were pathetically thin compared to the rest of his bulk, flickered helplessly before his eyes." In this weird little story, a whole family undergoes changes that bring about a variety of emotions for the reader. It left me feeling simultaneously mad and sad.THE METAMORPHOSIS is an unusual read and great classic that should not be missed for fans of sci-fi; and although I did not particularly care for the ending, found it unputdownable. (Interesting to note that within his household, Franz Kafka "grew up with feelings of inferiority, guilt, resentment and confinement".......much like Gregor.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Q: One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug. (c) I can't help thinking of Dave Cronenberg's 'The Fly', which gave me nightmares once. 'The Metamorphosis' is a close contender. I admit the idea to put it all like this is fantastic! But, Lord! I am conflicted about this one, since I'm simultaneously hating this book with passion and feeling its cathartic potential. Q: ‘... Gregor has broken loose.’ (c) Q: One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug. (c) I can't help thinking of Dave Cronenberg's 'The Fly', which gave me nightmares once. 'The Metamorphosis' is a close contender. I admit the idea to put it all like this is fantastic! But, Lord! I am conflicted about this one, since I'm simultaneously hating this book with passion and feeling its cathartic potential. Q: ‘... Gregor has broken loose.’ (c) And it goes really downhill from there. I'm loving to hate Kafka. Q: So for diversion he acquired the habit of crawling back and forth across the walls and ceiling. He was especially fond of hanging from the ceiling. (c) I do get the whole claptrap of crap ideas happening to be expressed in here but their delivery is plenty horrible. The allegories of clinical depression, debt, self-loathing, acceptance and mutual caring and betrayal and life and professional deformation and social/familial ties and their fragility, at best, and all the other wonder-crap we get introduced in here... Frankly, I read it ages ago and loathed it. I reread it, because, duh, I've grown up and maybe I'm more prepared for this one... DUH! I'm hating it even more. I feel as if this book's contagious with depression, since, well, almost any kind of debilitating illness could have been portrayed in here, instead if the bug-ness. I feel sorry for the poor bugger and I don't want all this imagery in my head. Still... it's horrible enough to be incredible! Rating: I start at +5 stars. The author's genius gets to add +1000 stars. My inner nightmare architect gets to subtract -1000 stars. Result: 5 stars. The book is wonderful and clever and grotesque and allegoristic and cool and I'm too squeamish for my own good. It definitely could be cathartic for someone. Or not. So, it's me, it's not the book. 5 stars it is. Q: ‘This getting up early,’ he thought, ‘makes a man quite idiotic. A man must have his sleep. (c) Q: I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself. (c) Q: Gregor was still here and wasn’t thinking at all about abandoning his family. At the moment he was lying right there on the carpet... (c) Q: But it was the very uncertainty which distressed the others and excused their behaviour. (c) Q: It seemed to Gregor that it might be far more reasonable to leave him in peace at the moment, instead of disturbing him with crying and conversation. (c) Q: I am amazed. I am amazed. I thought I knew you as a calm, reasonable person, and now you appear suddenly to want to start parading around in weird moods. (c) Q: ... Mr. Manager? To the office? Really? Will you report everything truthfully? A person can be incapable of work momentarily, but that is precisely the best time to remember the earlier achievements and to consider that later, after the obstacles have been shoved aside, the person will work all the more keenly and intensely. (c) This could have been the very best ever allegory of the modern office. Q: ... the manager had already turned away, and now he looked back at Gregor over his twitching shoulders with pursed lips. During Gregor’s speech he was not still for a moment, but was moving away towards the door, without taking his eyes off Gregor, but really gradually, as if there was a secret ban on leaving the room. He was already in the hall, and after the sudden movement with which he finally pulled his foot out of the living room, one could have believed that he had just burned the sole of his foot. In the hall, however, he stretched out his right hand away from his body towards the staircase, as if some truly supernatural relief was waiting for him there. (c) Lovely scene. Q: His parents did not understand all this very well. Over the long years, they had developed the conviction that Gregor was set up for life in his firm and, in addition, they had so much to do nowadays with their present troubles that all foresight was foreign to them. (c) Q: ... he felt a great pride that he had been able to provide such a life in a beautiful apartment like this for his parents and his sister. (c) Q: Thus, he had a long time to think undisturbed about how he should reorganize his life from scratch. But the high, open room, in which he was compelled to lie flat on the floor, made him anxious, without his being able to figure out the reason, for he had lived in the room for five years. With a half unconscious turn and not without a slight shame he scurried under the couch, where, in spite of the fact that his back was a little cramped and he could no longer lift up his head, he felt very comfortable and was sorry only that his body was too wide to fit completely under it. (c) Q: But his sister noticed right away with astonishment that the bowl was still full, with only a little milk spilled around it. She picked it up immediately (although not with her bare hands but with a rag), and took it out of the room. (c) Q: She brought him, to test his taste, an entire selection, all spread out on an old newspaper. There were old half-rotten vegetables, bones from the evening meal, covered with a white sauce which had almost solidified, some raisins and almonds, cheese, which Gregor had declared inedible two days earlier, a slice of dry bread, a slice of salted bread smeared with butter. (c) Lovely, a bunch of inedible stuff for the Bug. Q: Certainly they would not have wanted Gregor to starve to death, but perhaps they could not have endured finding out what he ate other than by hearsay. (c) Q: Already during the first day his father laid out all the financial circumstances and prospects to his mother and to his sister as well. ... He had thought that nothing at all was left over for his father from that business; at least his father had told him nothing to the contradict that view, and Gregor in any case hadn’t asked him about it. At the time Gregor’s only concern had been to devote everything he had in order to allow his family to forget as quickly as possible the business misfortune which had brought them all into a state of complete hopelessness. And so at that point he’d started to work with a special intensity and from an assistant had become, almost overnight, a traveling salesman, who naturally had entirely different possibilities for earning money and whose successes at work at once were converted into the form of cash commissions, which could be set out on the table at home in front of his astonished and delighted family. Those had been beautiful days, and they had never come back afterwards, at least not with the same splendour, in spite of the fact that Gregor later earned so much money that he was in a position to bear the expenses of the entire family, expenses which he, in fact, did bear. They had become quite accustomed to it, both the family and Gregor as well. They took the money with thanks, and he happily surrendered it, but the special warmth was no longer present. (c) Q: This feeling sought release at every opportunity, and with it Grete now felt tempted to want to make Gregor’s situation even more terrifying, so that then she would be able to do even more for him than now. For surely no one except Grete would ever trust themselves to enter a room in which Gregor ruled the empty walls all by himself. (c) Q: Grete’s purpose was clear to Gregor: she wanted to bring his mother to a safe place and then chase him down from the wall. Well, let her just attempt that! (c) Q: They were cleaning out his room, taking away from him everything he cherished; they had already dragged out the chest of drawers in which the fret saw and other tools were kept, and they were now loosening the writing desk which was fixed tight to the floor, the desk on which he, as a business student, a school student, indeed even as an elementary school student, had written out his assignments. (c) Q: Was that the same man who had lain exhausted and buried in bed in earlier days when Gregor was setting out on a business trip, who had received him on the evenings of his return in a sleeping gown and arm chair, totally incapable of standing up, who had only lifted his arm as a sign of happiness... But now he was standing up really straight, dressed in a tight fitting blue uniform with gold buttons, like the ones servants wear in a banking company. Above the high stiff collar of his jacket his firm double chin stuck out prominently, beneath his bushy eyebrows the glance of his black eyes was freshly penetrating and alert, his otherwise disheveled white hair was combed down into a carefully exact shining part. (c) Q: Gregor’s serious wound, from which he suffered for over a month (since no one ventured to remove the apple, it remained in his flesh as a visible reminder), seemed by itself to have reminded the father that, in spite of his present unhappy and hateful appearance, Gregor was a member of the family, something one should not treat as an enemy, and that it was, on the contrary, a requirement of family duty to suppress one’s aversion and to endure—nothing else, just endure. (c) Q: Was he an animal that music so seized him? For him it was as if the way to the unknown nourishment he craved was revealing itself to him. (c) Q: It must be gotten rid of,’ cried the sister ...how can it be Gregor? If it were Gregor, he would have long ago realized that a communal life among human beings is not possible with such an animal and would have gone away voluntarily. Then we would not have a brother, but we could go on living and honour his memory. But this animal plagues us. (c) Q: The fright had only lasted for a moment. Now they looked at him in silence and sorrow. (c) Q: He remembered his family with deep feeling and love. In this business, his own thought that he had to disappear was, if possible, even more decisive than his sister’s. (c) Q: ‘...about how that rubbish from the next room should be thrown out...(c) Yep, they did put a lot of rubbish in there, too. Still, they probably are including Gregor into this designation as well. How do you go from being the backbone of a family to rubbish? In a hurry.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Ant-Man, Spiderman and The Fly sit in a café in Prague and discuss Franz Kafka’s 1915 story Metamorphosis. Ant-Man: What in the hell was that anyway? Spiderman: Bug man. Fly: Guys, please, this is a modern classic of existentialism told in absurdist comic fashion. It’s an allegory about isolation and alienation, and ultimately a rejection of modern ideas about materialism and family unity. Kafka was decades ahead of his time, he quite literally influenced literary movements following him. Spiderman: Ant-Man, Spiderman and The Fly sit in a café in Prague and discuss Franz Kafka’s 1915 story Metamorphosis. Ant-Man: What in the hell was that anyway? Spiderman: Bug man. Fly: Guys, please, this is a modern classic of existentialism told in absurdist comic fashion. It’s an allegory about isolation and alienation, and ultimately a rejection of modern ideas about materialism and family unity. Kafka was decades ahead of his time, he quite literally influenced literary movements following him. Spiderman: Or it’s a story about a guy who wakes up as a big bug and his family gets creeped out. Ant-man: Right, that’s what I read too. I mean, anything cool at all, any super powers? Spiderman: Not that I could tell, he just kind of scuttles around his apartment – Fly: Guys! This is not meant to be read literally, yes he wakes up as a beetle like insect and yes, his parents and sister reject him, but Kafka makes Gregor’s plight one about inaccessibility that we can all relate to. By making this an absurdist comedy, he highlights the contrast between what society dictates and the feelings of inadequacy and desperation we all feel. Spiderman: I don’t even see how he could wear a supersuit. Ant-man: Even though they were freaked out by him, they still kind of just accepted it, kind of like the Coneheads. Spiderman: Yeah, but he’s not from France. Ant-man: Well neither were the Coneheads, they just told everyone that, they were from an alien planet. Fly: Aaaaaargh!! I’m going to throw up on both of you. Spiderman: I’ll wrap him up with spider webs! Ant-man: Avengers!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Ansbro

    "I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable." — Franz Kafka Taking bedbugs to a whole new level, travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant beetle. Rather than waving his legs and antennae in the air, screaming, "Omigod! Omigod! I’ve turned into a frigging cockroach!" he keeps his composure and goes about his daily business with a selfless determination. His family, by way of contrast, are a selfish, unpleasant bunch and merel "I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable." — Franz Kafka Taking bedbugs to a whole new level, travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant beetle. Rather than waving his legs and antennae in the air, screaming, "Omigod! Omigod! I’ve turned into a frigging cockroach!" he keeps his composure and goes about his daily business with a selfless determination. His family, by way of contrast, are a selfish, unpleasant bunch and merely see Gregor as vermin. It has oft been said that angsty Kafka might well have been channelling his own real-life feelings of worthlessness (i.e. him toiling as a writer when he could serve his family better by securing a ‘proper’ job). That being so, this poignant story is ostensibly one of alienation and guilt. Many readers focus on the story’s inherent sadness, but (as is the case with Kafka’s The Trial), the author lessens his existential load with a generous dollop of dark humour. His writing is a little laboured at times, but this might have more to do with my reading of a translation, rather than his original. Overall, from its genius premise to its allegorical ending, Metamorphosis is an entertaining, pity-inducing, thought-provoking read. Despite its dark exoskeleton, this anthro-podcast has a soft abdomen and is a whole lot of fun!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Forest

    Said to be one of the most important works of the 20th century, this story mirrors the way humans to this day treat others who are different. This is especially true for people with disabilities. Imagine getting into a car accident and spending the rest of your life without the use of your legs, arms, and voice. How would people treat you? This is why it is highly important for us to be unconsciously competent in our relationships with people with disabilities. Even more important is to focus on Said to be one of the most important works of the 20th century, this story mirrors the way humans to this day treat others who are different. This is especially true for people with disabilities. Imagine getting into a car accident and spending the rest of your life without the use of your legs, arms, and voice. How would people treat you? This is why it is highly important for us to be unconsciously competent in our relationships with people with disabilities. Even more important is to focus on our abilities (and everyone else's) and to forget that which disables us. Kafka's works certainly focus on the individual, almost all his protagonists represent himself. The word "Samsa" means alone in Czech. Another parallel to today is with people whom have gone through sex-change operations, homosexuals, cross-dressers, racial differences, socio-economic class, or anyone who is different or participates in devious leisure. The devious leisure concept could be more fitting as at the bottom of the downward pyramid is death and the top of the upward pyramid is self actualization. This is interesting to consider since "Gregor" has been said to be Kafka's inner most self, one he can see and grasp and no one else seems to. This is a good slice of German Literature. Even though Kafka is from Prague, he wrote in German as part of the "Prague Circle," a group of German, Jewish writers. Like many German works, the protagonist is faced with a depressing struggle. A timeless work which puts one in the eyes of the protagonist.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    This short story contains more than meets the eye. My copy of this dark classic is almost 200 pages long, 150 of which are notes and various critical essays with all manner of interpretations. It tells the story of Gregor, who wakes up to a living nightmare: having been transformed from the son, big brother, family provider, into a large, icky insect (a dung beetle, according to the cleaning woman). The fifty pages explore many different themes, the main ones being transformation and alienation. This short story contains more than meets the eye. My copy of this dark classic is almost 200 pages long, 150 of which are notes and various critical essays with all manner of interpretations. It tells the story of Gregor, who wakes up to a living nightmare: having been transformed from the son, big brother, family provider, into a large, icky insect (a dung beetle, according to the cleaning woman). The fifty pages explore many different themes, the main ones being transformation and alienation. Gregor has become a creature who (understandably) inspires disgust and fear in his family. He spends much of his time locked in his room where they allow him to live, solitarily sequestered. They don't question why he has suddenly turned into a nasty vermin. They don't try to help him, they just weakly hope he will "get better" at some point, and then give up on that. Woe to him if he dares emerge from his room. It's soon apparent that it isn't just Gregor who transforms - his family undergo changes as well. Franz Kafka, who died of tuberculosis, may have written this feeling as though he was as repellant as a giant beetle to his family, and just as alienated, which makes this absurd tale incredibly sad.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    First work of Kafka that I encountered...what struck me was how easy it was to get sucked into his logic and reasoning. We have all felt like Gregor Samsa at some point, as if we no longer belong to the human race. But Kafka reveals the even more horrific concept of NEVER having belonged to the family we were born into...after that rejection what is left?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    "Gregor Samsa woke up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect." Gabriel Garcia Marquez says that it was this sentence (one of the most powerful opening sentences in world literature) which convinced him that he could also write and started him on his literary career. Until then, he had thought people were not allowed to write such outrageous things in stories! "Metamorphosis" talks about alienation in a direct way which packs a tremendous punch. There is no beating about the bu "Gregor Samsa woke up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect." Gabriel Garcia Marquez says that it was this sentence (one of the most powerful opening sentences in world literature) which convinced him that he could also write and started him on his literary career. Until then, he had thought people were not allowed to write such outrageous things in stories! "Metamorphosis" talks about alienation in a direct way which packs a tremendous punch. There is no beating about the bush, no explanation of how such a fantastic event can occur, no hint that the story is metaphorical. Gregor Samsa, a man until the day before, has suddenly become an insect - now he, his family, and society must deal with it. This is what makes Kafka intensely readable. If you are willing to suspend disbelief and allow the writer to lead the way, you can plunge right into his novels. While most of his subjects are weird and depressing, his writing is strangely compelling; it is a nightmare from which you do not want to wake up.

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